Have you ever seen those people with, like, a hundred piercings all over their body? Or with tattoos on every available piece of flesh? Have you seen Michael Jackson? So much plastic surgery that he became someone else entirely?

Body modification is addictive, it seems. And so it worried me when my good friend C wanted laser resurfacing of her face.

"Huh?" I asked.

"Oh come on," she retorted, "it's just a little procedure. Just to get these chicken pox scars off." She pointed at two or three tiny little millimetre deep scars; barely noticable in my opinion. "I'm only two inches away from the perfect body size. I'll lose a little weight, get my face fixed and I'll be perfect!"

I looked at her body which was already a thousand times beyond perfection. How could she not be satisfied with it? And I realized that she would never feel perfect, because perfection is always out of reach.

She balked when I told her this. "Oh, come on! I just told you: two inches and laser resurfacing and that's it!"

I shook my head, and explained.

"There are these people who are really into Hi-Fi audio equipment. Hi-Fi nuts are one term. Anyway, they start off just like everybody else. They go to Future Shop or Circuit City and buy a Sony amp, CD player and speakers. And they think 'this will be good to listen to my music on.' After about a year, however, they realize that the sound is 'just not good enough' and so they go about upgrading. They ditch the Sony CD player and go for something a bit better; say, a Denon with 96kBit oversampling. And that helps for a few months, but they want more. So they get better speakers: B&W models at $1000 a pop. But that's not enough. Pretty soon - and this isn't pretty - they're into tube gear. Yes, vacuum tube amps to go with their upper-model B&Ws at $5000 each and their German-made CD players and Technics turntables. People see their setup and are stunned. 'Wow!' they exclaim. 'The sound is incredible. You must have paid a lot!'

"Indeed they have at that point. Will they stop? Never. There's always $40 per foot cables to buy, modifications to the equipment, and every year new and better equipment. They reach out to the new gear, every time thinking 'This will make it perfect' and every time they get tired of it within a year."

"The Hi-Fi nuts have to stop! They have to realize perfection does not exist and accept the sound they have. Only then will they be able to listen to their music in peace."

C looked at me quizically. I had ranted for quite a while I guess. Eventually, she said, calmly, "just two more inches and the laser resurfacing and I'll be perfect."

Oh, how I wish it were true.

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